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There is a mountain bike buzz about Bentonville, Arkansas that is getting louder and louder. Folks kept talking about the trails but I kept ignoring it. Sure they have Walmart money but they don’t have any elevation! And it’s in the Midwest where there are no bike destinations. Or is it in the South? Where is it anyway?

Well, folks who I respect and who ride a whole lot better than me have ridden out there and their reviews have been stellar. Not only are they talking about the riding but they can’t stop talking about the food! They even rave about the art (when they don’t have an artistic bone in their body, unless it’s bike art at from the Handmade Bike Show.)

And to top it off, a few folks I know moved there! And a couple bought vacation houses there so I had to visit and see for myself.

So I paid a visit on November of 2019, hosted by the Bike Bentonville organization to experience what the city had to offer a mountain biker and I learned a lot. This visit to Bentonville blew away all my expectations on and off the trail. The six different professional trail crews building 1.6 miles of new trail to an already expansive trail network was hard to comprehend given my experience with trail building conditions in Northern California. The crews and planners were always innovating, thinking bigger as each trail project benefited from the knowledge and building techniques gained from the previous projects.

I was blown away as well with the available food options. There were so many chefs eager to show off local ingredients, blending traditional styles with modern creativity. One can feel the pride and satisfaction of the locals at all levels of the food and service industry.

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